Everyone is on high alert due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most of us have hunkered down in our homes due to lockdown, possibly working remotely, or planning ways to adjust to a few months of home quarantine. Normally, it should be fun — as it’s just us, our family, and our gadgets. However, the presence of the coronavirus means we need to stay sharp and stay alert of things happening in our environment. Unfortunately, in today’s age of Netflix, Snapchat, TikTok, and other apps, we might not be as prepared as we want to. Well, are we?
In this article, we present some perspectives that members of the military and law enforcement agencies have on using apps to keep us safe — not just from the coronavirus, but in general. Because if things get worse with COVID-19, we may face violence and other dangers. Can apps, like Facetime, help us prepare and deal with these scenarios? It turns out they can:
Keep your lines of communication open to reach out to family and essential personnel.
A lot of countries will most likely be in the first month of their respective quarantine periods, and coordinated efforts from government departments mean essential utilities like water, electricity, and the internet won’t be cut off.
It’s also advised to keep a list of relevant local numbers and hotlines of relevant government agencies to contact in case of emergency. Aside from COVID-19 hotlines, keep tabs on emergency hotlines, police, firefighters, and nearby hospitals. There are apps precisely built to call operators with your information if you can’t access help immediately — these include SafeTrek, Family Locator, and Bugle.
Additionally, apps like Facetime, Skype, and even Facebook Messenger can help you get access to important people in your life. They only require an internet connection to work, and they can support multiple people in group calls. For instance, Facetime can support up to 32 people in a single call. Likewise, you can also use these apps to call and locate people in cases of emergency or contact government authorities.
Group FaceTime (Apple).
Stay educated and informed of COVID-19 news and updates.
In times of crisis, being informed is one of the most crucial elements of survival. Regarding COVID-19, stay alert and aware of what’s happening to the local community and ensure you receive updates from health departments and personnel. Thankfully, a lot of applications exist solely to deliver factual news and information. Reliable information sources include the World Health Organization, as well as your local government’s health departments.
If your favorite news publication has an application, don’t hesitate to download it to stay informed of new articles and updates. Don’t forget to also check out news aggregates such as Flipboard so you can always compile news from various sources.
Online forums and communities can serve as a great way to connect with like-minded individuals to get relevant news and updates on COVID-19. For instance, Reddit, an online forum (with an app!), has “subreddits” that serve as sub-forums for various topics. Its “r/worldnews” and “r/coronavirus” can be great sources of updates on coronavirus news. Even social media like Facebook and Twitter provide live updates on COVID-19 news from local government agencies and the world at large from various pages and accounts.
Keeping ourselves informed isn’t just limited to reading news on social media. Whenever possible, it’s important to know how to properly follow procedures for various emergency situations. Thankfully, a number of apps exist that serve as offline guides for civilians to use. These apps take cues from army personnel and the tactics they follow. Some app examples are Army Survival Handbook (for outdoors), or even Soldier’s Blue Book (if you want to be familiar with military protocol).
Find ways to stay relaxed, calm, and collected as much as possible.
Despite being in a crisis, we shouldn’t let the pandemic deprive us of the opportunity to get a bit of R&R. This doesn’t necessarily mean just “go with the flow” or not plan. Rather, we should take a page off the military’s handbook and make sure we get our equivalent of team rotations and rest cycles at home, or wherever we’re staying. Being tired makes us prone to make mistakes, wrong judgment calls, and in the case of a health crisis, more susceptible to get sick.
Schedules make things more bearable and organized. One of the leading causes of panic is the thought of things being “disorganized.” Maybe a scheduling app can help you give yourself a much-needed breather. Apps like TimeTune, Timetable, and ClassUp can help you put your to-do list on a handy schedule. This makes sure you have time to do essentials for COVID-19 preparedness and still have time to relax.
Keep a few games and entertainment options on your mobile phone. Just because you should be prepared doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun. A few puzzle games or even mobile MOBAs here and there can help us keep alert and energized. Meanwhile, Netflix and YouTube can also help us relax and watch our favorite shows for relief.
Sleep and meditative applications like Calm and Headspace can also help keep yourself grounded and calm if you feel panicked. Guided meditation apps like Serenity and Let’s Meditate have meditation routines you can follow to help yourself relax as well.
The Fight Against Coronavirus: Stay Safe, Stay Sharp Physically, Virtually
With the above tips in mind, it’s important to remember that almost everything around us can be used to our advantage if we think and we plan hard enough. In the case of our gadgets, their applications can actually be used to help us stay alert of our surroundings and deal with various risky situations. Apps like Facetime can actually be used to find news, communicate with friends, family, and local authorities, and even find relevant updates on things that can affect the way we live during this quarantine period.
Remember, now’s the perfect time to be aware of the apps you have on your gadgets and to figure out how to use them to your utmost advantage. You may be staying at home, going out to buy essentials, or being part of the frontlines. You need all the tools you can get to maintain your safety in this coronavirus crisis!
Use this opportunity to use applications like Facetime for Android and other alternatives to keep in touch with family members, friends, and government authorities.
Editor’s note: This article was written by John Wyatt, a very tech-savvy but also very traditional person. John enjoys typing on his laptop just as much as he does writing with a pen, and this is reflected in his creative work — be it articles, blogs, or even simple posts. He loves writing about science and technology, psychology, health and wellness, and other topics he knows his readers will love to explore.